27 August 2013

America's changing "frontier"

Defined as counties with fewer than 6 people per square mile.

From the National Center for Frontier Communities (where there are several other related maps), via Maps on the Web.


  1. I do not understand this map at all... The first thing I noticed, being from Wyoming, is that we had a couple counties classified as "not frontier", while South Dakota [with ~257k more people than WY] had none, and Montana [with ~428k more]. So I started checking counties...

    Fremont County, WY, has a 2010 density of 4/sq mi [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fremont_County,_Wyoming] - I really doubt it's grown by 150% in 3 years. A number of counties in South Dakota have densities higher than 6 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_dakota_counties] - I counted 10 before I got bored. And Yellowstone County, MT [where Billings is] has a density of 57/sq mi [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_County,_Montana]- how on earth was that frontier in 2000?

    After looking all this up, I realised that I had not questioned your caption of "Defined as counties with fewer than 6 people per square mile." which indeed, I can't find anywhere on the National Center for Frontier Communities's website [citation?]. But regardless, I can't imagine what possible metric they're using where Sioux Falls's county [175k in 814 sq mi - 200/sq mi] is "frontier" and WY's Natrona County [75k in 5376 sq mi] isn't.

    1. edit: "and Montana [with ~428k more], had only a few".

      Also, apologies for the wonky link formatting.

    2. At the website for the National Center for Frontier Communities, under the Map tab, there is a map titled "State Definitions of Frontier". According to this map MT and WY define a 'frontier' as less than 6 people per sq mi in a given county. SD is mapped as a state that uses "Consensus Definition" to define what is a frontier. Apparently each state can choose it's criteria to define what is a frontier. So what exactly is to be learned from this?

  2. For some reason, this map reminded me of this one: what the United States would look like if the lines of all 50 states were redrawn to have exactly the same population:

    (Full-size map)



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